Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered state agencies to find ways to alleviate congestion at California’s ports.
Record demand for imported goods, labor shortages and other factors have contributed to a backlog of container ships at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that is causing delays, threatening the U.S. economy and contributing to price increases.
Images of waiting ships scattered along the California coast have proliferated online for months, and recently drew more attention as word spread that the backlog could impact holiday shopping.
Newsom’s executive order asks agencies to find properties that could be used as short-term storage for goods that are unloaded from ships, as well as identify freight routes that can be exempted from vehicle weight limits to allow for trucks to carry more goods.
It also directs the agencies to work with the Biden Administration to address supply chain challenges, and develop long-term solutions to support port operations and goods movement that will be considered for the governor’s budget in January.
The governor’s office said improvements “may include port and transportation infrastructure improvements, electrification of the goods movement system from port to delivery, and workforce development.”
The ports of L.A. and Long Beach account for 40% of all seaborne imports to the U.S., making them crucial to the nation’s economy, according to the New York Times.
The White House has so far responded to the backlog by making the Ports of Los Angeles a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation in order to reduce shipping delays.
“California’s ports are critical to our local, state and national economies and the state is taking action to support goods movement in the face of global disruptions,” Newsom said in a statement. “My administration will continue to work with federal, state, labor and industry partners on innovative solutions to tackle immediate challenges while also bringing our distribution processes into the 21st century.”